Lin Feng had lost his original account, the one that he used to get all the way to the Season 1 World Championships. It was locked out, and he didn’t feel ready to play on that account again. He had made a completely new account, a fresh one, on the Ionia server. Right around the time he started making commentary videos with Su Xue on the Korean server.
Ever since he made that account though, he’d been playing a lot of games every single day. It started out with games he played for Su Xue’s stream and with her in training. Then he started playing games with his friends in the NetCow Cafe. And he’d put a lot of hours in during practice for the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. On top of that, he also played a ton of games by himself in solo queue. Especially after he saw how good Rake was in the Season 5 World Championships.
Between all of these things that happened recently, Lin Feng had played so many games in the ranked queue on the Ionia server that his new account had reached Challenger! And Tian Tian sitting next to him was KG RoundyRound! They were two of the best players in the game about to wreak havoc on some unsuspecting players in the duo queue!
There were millions and millions of people playing League of Legends every day in China. Most of them were stuck in Bronze, Silver or Gold; sometimes called elo-hell. A term that bad players used as an excuse to explain why they couldn’t climb the ladder. But there were only 200 Challengers on each server, a hard cap put in place by Riot Games. Of those 200 Challengers, many played on professional teams and never went to an internet cafe. On the rare occasion they did, everyone at the cybercafe would crowd around them to ask for autographs or advice on league or burning personal questions. And beg them to play their main champion, the one they rose to prominence with.
Lin Feng created a lobby and sent Tian Tian an invite, then entered the queue. There weren’t many players at a matchmaking rank this high, so it took a couple of minutes to find a game. Lin Feng looked over at Tian Tian and asked, “What roles do we want to play… Hmm… OH! I KNOW! How about you go Top and I’ll Jungle!?”
“Sure!” Tian Tian agreed. I’m just happy to play with you again. It’s been years since we last played a game together… Years! You could’ve said you wanted to go ad-carry, and I would have supported you! He smiled as old memories surfaced. But Top-Jungle is better. Just like the old days. No one could beat us when we played Top-Jungle. That was so much fun!
The queue popped. Lin Feng and Tian Tian clicked “Ready!” and entered Champion Select. Then both of them, like trained professionals, typed a quick message and slammed down on the ENTER key.
KG RoundyRound:「TOp pls!」
Protector:「Holy shit! havent seen you in ranked in forever!!」
Zabuza445:「omg!!! Heyyyyyyy! pls add me as a friend after this game!」
The three random players on the team were all incredibly friendly towards Tian Tian. He was the puffy, friendly face in the Chinese League of Legends scene that everyone loved. Even his opponents cheered for him when he made a good play! There was just something about him that made it impossible to dislike him. So when the three random players saw one of their favourite players in the game in Champion Select, they briefly forgot that they were Challengers themselves. They swarmed over Tian Tian like teenage girls meeting their idol. Top lane was his. Jungle was for his friend. And they’d do everything in their might to make this game his game!
KG RoundyRound:「Let’s all just have fun!」
Lin Feng looked over at Tian Tian, who was smiling like a happy child, and grinned. They all love you, Fatty! Just look at the chat! You achieved so much after I left. Then he shook his head and turned his attention to the long list of Champions. Now, what to play, what to play… He scrolled through the alphabetical list. Amumu? Nah, don’t feel like it. Maybe Nidalee? Could be fun. Hmm… He continued looking until he got to the r. Rengar. Yeah, let’s play him! I haven’t played with him in a while. When was the last time? Must’ve been all the way back against that Rose streamer. Wonder if I made her quit after that… He started grinning as he recalled how he’d stood up for Su Xue and helped catapult her stream that night more than a month ago.
It was Tian Tian’s turn to pick a Champion. He glanced through the champion list and clicked on the image of Riven. He didn’t lock her in yet, but his teammates could see that he had her highlighted.
Zabuza445: 「RIVEN!!!! Yes yes!1!! Play rivennn!!!」
IllusoryFigLeaf: 「his riven is the best!!! Did you guys see his riven at worlds? My god that was amazing~~~」
Zabuza445: 「IKR!!!! I bet that one game was enough for him to become a KING!!!!!」
Protector: 「i read somewhere that the new list isnt updated yet coz riot is gunna make the list」
Zabuza445: 「I READ THAT TOOO!!!! We just gotta wait a few more weeks. AND THEN. AND THEN! GOD ROUNDY IS GONNA BE CROWNED KING!!!!! WE”RE PLAYING WITH THE NEWEST KING GUYS!!!!」
IllusoryFigLeaf: 「so deserved~~~」
KG RoundyRound:「Uhh, thanks. But there’s many good players. I don’t think I’m that good..」
Zabuza445: 「DON”T BE SHY! YOU DESERVE IT!」
Protector: 「yeah, your heca and riven were crazy good. Ive been tryin for a 5man ultie… i dunno how you did that」
Tian Tian felt his face heat up. He never knew how to react to compliments, not four years ago and not now. He just felt incredibly awkward when he became the center of attention. The last few weeks, he hadn’t even dared to go on social media. Everyone was lauding him. They were calling him the best Riven in the world. The best Hecarim in the world. And they were discussing which player he was going to replace on the Seven Kings list. His go-to tactic in these situations was to look away and pretend his nose was bleeding.
Tian Tian looked away from the chat, squinting his eyes far enough so that he couldn’t see it anymore, and glanced at which Champions were being locked in. It was Lin Feng’s turn and he quickly locked in Rengar. Tian Tian frowned and turned to Lin Feng. “You’re going Rengar?”
Lin Feng chuckled and said, “Yeah! I wanna have some fun too!”
He always came with the most random champions… Tian Tian grinned and nodded. “Ok! Let’s carry this game together then!” Like we always did.
Blue Team vs. Red Team
Top lane: Tryndamere versus Riven
Jungle: Lee Sin versus Rengar
Mid lane: Syndra versus Ziggs
AD-carry: Lucian versus Jinx
Support: Nami versus Alistar
《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》
[All] SpeedDemon (Lucian):「This is a challenge to SliceSpike! Let your wallet do the talking!」
[All] LyricleRifle (Lee Sin):「Good luck & have fun everyone!!!」
[All] Moody Steer (Syndra):「sup roundy! Long time no see, dude. How bout you go easy on me this game? I really don’t want to get my ass pounded like last time. That shit hurt for weeks! Haha!」
[All] KG RoundyRound (Riven):「Haha! What are you talking about, Moody? You played really well that game, it just wasn’t enough」
The 10 players had just spawned on the Rift, but the all chat was already blowing up. Lin Feng grinned as he read the messages. He pointed at the Lucian’s message on Tian Tian’s screen and said, “Read that message! What’s he even talking about? I love how every game always has that one guy who has to say something absolutely random!” Then he caught up to the exchange between Moody Steer and Tian Tian. Hmm, I know that name… Oh! Isn’t she the Midlaner for that LPL team… Ah crap, why can’t I think of their name? He pointed at the message and asked, “Isn’t that the one from that LPL team?”
Tian Tian nodded and replied, “Yeah. He’s a really nice guy. Their team has a lot of potential, I think.”
Lin Feng smiled as he looked at the happy expression on his friend’s face. Fatty really has been doing great! Then he turned his attention to the game. Minions had spawned and there were only a couple more seconds until the Jungle Camps would spawn. His Rengar was sitting next to the Gromp Camp, which was located in the Red Team’s bot side jungle. Waiting, Lin Feng panned his camera to the bot lane. Their Botlaners aren’t in lane, so they’re probably helping Lee Sin kill the Krugs. Then they go to the bot lane and Lee Sin goes for his Red Buff Camp. This should be fun!
The Jungle Camps spawned. Lin Feng’s Rengar attacked the Gromp, and killed it with the help of his Botlaners. Then he ran past his Blue Buff Camp and into the river. Past the Dragon pit and into Blue Team’s bot side jungle. Through the tall grass and around the backside of the Red Buff Camp. Then he stopped in the brush adjacent to the Red Brambleback.
The Blue Team’s Lee Sin was indeed fighting the Red Brambleback. Lin Feng’s Rengar waited, prowling in the brush. Lee Sin’s health bar dropped below half. And then down to a third. Now! Savagery! Lin Feng’s Rengar pounced on Lee Sin and brutally stabbed him!
Lee Sin didn’t try to fight. He flashed away! And then he ran! But no one could escape from Rengar in the jungle. Unseen Predator, Rengar’s passive skill, allowed him to leap at enemy champions every time he entered a brush or stealth. Lin Feng’s Rengar jumped after Lee Sin, then entered a brush before pouncing at his target again.
[All] LyricleRifle (Lee Sin):「Damn, I didn’t see that coming. Well played.」
One of the big differences between higher and lower elo games was the mentality of players. Most players who reached the higher ranks had learned that raging in chat only impaired their gameplay. From there it was a quick slope to losing the game. It was best to stay calm. To accept the screw up and to focus on the next play. But lower ranked players usually didn’t understand this logic. When they made a bad decision, they started searching for increasingly convoluted explanations as to why this wasn’t their mistake. Why their teammates were the real reason that they lost the play. And then the game.
Tian Tian laughed and said to Lin Feng, “That was a really nice invade!”
“Thanks!” Lin Feng replied. Then he looked over at Tian Tian’s screen and suggested, “You should kill that Tryndamere too! I’ll have your back!”
Tian Tian scratched the back of his head and finally mumbled, “Ok, I’ll try. But this Trynd is pretty good. I’m not sure I can kill him already.”
“It’s not just you. It’s us! I’m coming top for a gank!” Lin Feng explained, grinning.
Lin Feng recalled back to base to spend the gold for first blood and instructed Tian Tian to start pushing in the wave towards Blue team’s outer tower. He then had his Rengar walk into his top side jungle to clear the Red Buff Camp, after which he walked up to the top lane. Tian Tian had pushed the wave far enough, allowing him to walk into lane unseen. He snuck into the first brush along the top side of the lane. Then the second. And he finally stopped in the third. Fatty is pushing pretty hard right now. Lee Sin has to be coming for a gank soon. This is going to be fun! He grinned and said to Tian Tian, “Set up the bait!”
“Got it!” Tian Tian said. He had his Riven get a little bit too aggressive by walking past his minions to attack the Tryndamere underneath his own outer tower.
The bait worked flawlessly. Lee Sin appeared from the lane and hopped towards the Tryndamere with Safeguard. Then the Tryndamere sliced through the Riven, his blade spinning around and around.
Tian Tian’s Riven dashed away with Valor, opening his back to the Tryndamere. Mocking Shout! The Tryndamere bellowed out a deafening roar, slowing down the Riven! Then the Lee Sin fired off a Sonic Wave. But Tian Tian had seen this combination coming from a mile away. He was already doging the Lee Sin’s attack before it even came. Then he slashed out with Broken Wings, jumping into the brush Lin Feng’s Rengar was waiting in.
The Lee Sin player hesitated. His danger senses tingled. Something’s off. This is God Roundy’s Riven. He pinged the Tryndamere to retreat, but his warnings fell on deaf ears. Tryndamere charged head first into the brush, ready to finish off the Riven!
Lin Feng’s fingers glided over his keyboard. Savagery! His Rengar slashed down on Tryndamere with his daggers. Bola Strike! A bola wrapped around Tryndamere’s legs and slowed him down. All the while, Tian Tian did what Riven was best at. Firing of a Ki Burst and then hacking away with her blade until there was nothing left of her victim’s health!
《An enemy has been slain!》
The Lee Sin player shook his head and grumbled a quiet complaint, his hand hovering over the enter key. Do I say something? I shouldn’t, but… Dammit. He finally pressed down and wrote a message in his team’s chat.
LyricalRifle (Lee Sin):「Dude, I told you to back… 」
Bloodsucker (Tryndamere):「Fuck off. Jungle better, 0/1 Trashlee!」